People watch a TV showing file footage of a North Korea's ballistic missile, at Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Sunday, April 16, 2017. A North...
Ahn Young-joon

Trump looks for help from Russia on North Korea

Before he became a presidential candidate, Donald Trump used to see North Korean missile launches as evidence of American weakness. In late 2012, for example, he tweeted, “We can’t even stop the Norks from blasting a missile…. It is really sad.”

Yes, Trump, on multiple occasions, referred to officials in North Korea as “Norks.”

It’s likely Trump has adopted a very different posture now that North Korea continues to launch missiles – something “we can’t even stop” – including a ballistic-missile launch yesterday morning. NBC News reported that the unidentified ballistic missile “flew around 30 minutes” before landing in the Sea of Japan.

Last night, North Korea said the missile had the capacity to carry a “large scale heavy nuclear warhead,” but then again, North Korea says a lot of things, many of which aren’t true.

What struck me as especially interesting, at least as far as domestic politics is concerned, was the written statement from Donald Trump’s White House.
“With the missile impacting so close to Russian soil – in fact, closer to Russia than to Japan – [Trump] cannot imagine that Russia is pleased,” the White House statement said.
As White House reactions to North Korean misconduct go, this is a pretty odd statement. The missile launch really didn’t have much to do with Russia, but Trump nevertheless appears eager to rope them in – as if the White House is looking for some country that might be willing to help solve a problem Trump doesn’t know how to address.

It was therefore of great interest when Russia said it was largely unconcerned.
Hours after President Trump’s comment, Russia’s Defense Ministry said the North Korean missile posed “no danger” to Russia because it flew at a “significant distance” from the coast, Interfax said, citing a ministry statement.
So, Trump told North Korea not to launch, and it did anyway. Trump then tried to get Russia to respond angrily, an appeal which was largely ignored.

Trump told Time magazine last week, “You know what’s interesting, I’m getting very good marks in foreign policy. People would not think of me in that light…. I’m getting As and A+s on foreign policy. And nobody thought about it.”

This report card appears to exist only in Trump’s mind.